Bountifully Blessed

Acts 26:18   (NLT)   18 to open their eyes, so they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God. Then they will receive forgiveness for their sins and be given a place among God’s people, who are set apart by faith in me.’

A lot of great things happens to us when we place our full dependence on Jesus for our salvation and surrender our lives to Him. For one, our blind eyes are opened. God’s love, our need, our spiritual poverty, God’s answer to our spiritual need, our appropriate Acts 26.18 - Bountifully Blessedresponse—all these are elucidated in our minds and hearts by God’s precious Holy Spirit. That’s why we humbly, gratefully, and readily call on Him and receive Him into our lives.

There’s so much more: we no longer live in darkness, we now live in the light—we are children of light, lights of the world. Whew—awesome descriptions of our identity. Satan, as powerful as he may be, no longer has a hold on us because we’re now under God’s Almighty protection. Satan has got nothing on God. Oh, what joy to know He who gives us life, and life way more abundantly, is infinitely more powerful than the one who tries to steal, kill, and destroy.

We’re also forgiven of all our sins. That’s big. Our sins separated us from God—spiritually dead, that is. That’s serious. Without His forgiveness, it leads to eternal death. That doesn’t sound good; that’s horrible. To spend eternity apart from God, void of love, joy, peace, freedom, and bliss is more than horrible; it’s indescribably agonizing. But we’re forgiven. We’re now, in a saving sense, God’s children—a part of His spiritual family—His people. We’re different; we’re separated from the rest; we’re unique—wonderfully unique.

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Living Out Our Holiness

Leviticus 20:26   (NLT)   You must be holy because I, the Lord , am holy. I have set you apart from all other people to be my very own.

God wants us restored to the highest quality of being and existence. He is a holy God Who wants us to be holy. Holiness is a good thing; it isn’t a cage constricting us from doing things we like doing; it does however restrict us from doing things that enslave us. Leviticus 20.26 - Living Out Our HolinessHe created us in His image; that image was marred by sin. But now as believers, He has again made us holy and he wants us to live in and live out that holiness.

God has called us unto himself—a peculiar people, a holy nation, a people belonging to Him—different and separate from the world. We have very different standards from the world; we have different ways of thinking; different perspective; different worldview, different ways of doing things. It is not our aim to be like the world; our aim is to be increasingly more like our Lord—in perfect holiness and righteousness.

So, we don’t pursue what the world pursues; we don’t desire what the world desires. It isn’t our pursuit to have flashy, luxurious, expensive cars like the world does. We don’t pursue humongous houses like the world does; we don’t pursue fame and fortune, accolades and applause like the world does. I’m not implying that luxury, fame, and fortune are innately evil. But they are not where our hearts are. Our hearts and minds are set on the prize of the high and upward calling of our God in Christ Jesus. We don’t share the world’s ungodly value system; we are unique; we live in God. We don’t make up rules to fit our wishes and whims; if everyone does that, the world will be in total chaos. We have an authoritative moral compass—His Word.

We don’t sacrifice our values at the altar of the majority, peer pressure, or political correctness. For us, murder is wrong, whether they be adults or babies—in the mother’s room or outside of the mother’s womb. For us, having sexual acts with a person not your spouse is immoral. We love it that we, our spouses, and our children don’t go around hopping from bed to bed with just anybody we or they like. We are called to keep our marriage bed undefiled and pure for the person we love—the person we have vowed and dedicated our lives to—for a lifetime. We operate in love, not lust, not greed. For us, giving is more blessed then getting. We love our enemies, bless those who curse us, pray for those who persecute us. We don’t take revenge, but we trust in our God and His justice.

We are God’s people. We belong to him. There only two choices: Him or anything else—to be holy like Him, and to be unholy like the world. We choose Him.

 

The Fire that Always Burns

Leviticus 6:13   (NLT)   Remember, the fire must be kept burning on the altar at all times. It must never go out.

Our God is always inviting, waiting, ready and willing for us to come into his presence. His fire—the fire of His mercy and grace, the fire of His cleansing blood, the fire of His Holy Spirit—is always ready, always lit to burn away all our sins, any hour, any minute of the day.

Leviticus 6.13 - The Fire that Always BurnsThrough our Lord Jesus, God’s throne is open and accessible 24/7. What a wondrous truth. We desperately need that. We have sinned at various times of our day. Temptations come at us every opportunity it gets. Praise God for many times of victory. But we have times of failure. Praise God that when we fail—when we sin—we don’t have to wait for a year, for a month, a week, a day, not even for an hour for us to ask for forgiveness—for us to be cleansed. We don’t have to bear the load of guilt sin and shame—not for a single moment. At the instance we fall, we can immediately and sincerely confess our sins to him; and as he promised, He is just and faithful enough to forgive us of all our sins and to cleanse us of all our unrighteousness.

Thank You Lord that you have already provided us the ways and means—all that are necessary for us to come to You any time of any day. Through the death of our precious Lord Jesus, through His sacrifice—His shed blood on the cross—we no longer have to wait to be forgiven. We no longer have to come up with our own animal sacrifices; we don’t have to delay until we could find the proper time; we no longer have to suffer—weighed down—for a prolonged period of time, as we struggle to complete the grueling task of gathering all the necessary requirements and performing necessary sacrifices—to the strictest detail. Our cleansing, restoration, and refreshing are available to us any moment of our day. Because of you, we get to always live light and free. Thank You Lord—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Be Teachable

Acts 8:31   (NLT)   The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.

“Teachability” is a very valuable virtue. It requires humility but it’s also a path to greatness. It takes humility to admit lack of understanding, to admit need of help, to admit someone knows more than you do. Learning requires sincerity and resolve. It Acts 8.31 - Be Teachablenecessitates effort. The person in this story had a hard time understanding what he was reading, but he was reading nonetheless.

Having a know-it-all attitude is disadvantageous. Wise people understand: wisdom is a life-long pursuit; the truth is: it is an eternity-long pursuit. Our learning doesn’t stop when we meet the Lord face to face.

There is no greater source of wisdom than God’s Word. True: there are some parts hard to understand; it will take a sincere desire to learn for us to grasp truths God intends for us. We find it a big help listening to others who have also spent time and effort in studying His Word. We don’t deny personal responsibility; we have to read the word by ourselves; we have to study it; meditate on it; memorize it; live it out; share it. But we can certainly also learn from others. It doesn’t diminish our self-esteem when we do. We expand our horizon much greater by mining the gold from other people’s perspective. We recognize that we miss some important insights other people catch. We even learn from people of the world; they too have wisdom to share; they too are created in God’s image; they have undeniably good contributions. In some cases, we need discernment from the Holy Spirit to know whether what they teach is godly or worldly. It’s no problem because God is more generous with His Spirit guiding us, helping us, warning us, and leading us to the truth.

Dear heavenly Father—all loving and all wise, thank You for giving us understanding and insight—especially when it comes to vital spiritual truths. Thank You for giving us your Holy Spirit without Whom we would be spiritually blind. Thank You for making us a part of people who have the same access to Your Spirit—the Spirit of wisdom. Thank You for giving us opportunities to learn, to know more about You, Your Word, Your love, and a lot more wonderful truths we absolutely treasure. And thank You for the privilege and honor of bearing and sharing this treasure.

 

Rebuking the Devil

Luke 4:36   (NLT)   Amazed, the people exclaimed, “What authority and power this man’s words possess! Even evil spirits obey him, and they flee at his command!”

There were people who noticed Jesus and had the observation, assessment, and statement about Him. Jesus’ Words possessed very noticeable authority that evil spirits obeyed the commands. Although evil spirits are against Jesus, they’re still under His absolute control.

People notice; not everybody does, but others do. They are open enough to see the reality of our precious Lord, His work, and yes, us, His people. Our relationship with Jesus is obvious. It translates to our lifestyles—the purity of our actions, and the authority of our words. We’re not intimidated; we don’t fear—not even them. We submit ourselves to God, we resist the devil, and the devil flees.

Our uniqueness as believers is beautiful. People who awaken to this reality can’t help but see the many blessings we have. Yes, we are humble: we’re meek, but this doesn’t mean we’re weak and powerless. The Holy Spirit resides in us. That’s the power able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all anyone is able to ask, think, or imagine. We don’t retaliate when insulted, but the words we speak—the oracles of God flowing from our mouths have authority to command a mountain to be uprooted and cast into the sea, to order the devil to get out and go, and they don’t have any recourse but to do what we say.

Yieldedness-Servanthood

Luke 1:38   (KJV)   38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1.38 - Yieldedness-ServanthoodServanthood to God involves not just doing something or laborious activities, it could be as simple as yielding oneself to God for whatever God’s purpose is.

At times, some of us think God’s not pleased with us until we serve Him close to exhaustion. I agree there are times when serving God becomes very hard, but hardship isn’t the measurement or determining factor whether we’re really serving God or not. More than anything, He just wants to move in and through us. The Holy Spirit is still working. We just have to allow ourselves: mind, soul, spirit, bodies as His channels.

Dear God, thank You for considering us to take part in Your Divine move. It’s an honor to be considered and invited as Your vassals and vessels. You can do everything without our help, but You allow us to enjoy the fruits of Your labor. Help us Lord to enjoy the productive rest of just offering our bodies to You—in Jesus’ Name, amen.

 

Believers’ Natural Fruits

Ephesians 5:9   (KJV)   9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)

Ephesians 5.9 - Believers' Natural FruitsGod’s precious Holy Spirit living in us produces only good things—praise God for that. He efficiently bears in us what’s good, what’s right, and what’s true.

We willingly and humbly yield ourselves to the gentle leading and inner work of the Holy Spirit. Left to ourselves, we still have a strong tendency to listen to the destructive influence of our old way of living. But our loving God has lavishly given us wisdom; we quickly identify and resist what’s evil, wrong, and false. More so, we understand that ungodliness isn’t something to accommodate and excuse; it’s something to completely reject. Our sincere love for God and our proper understanding of God’s love don’t deny His anger—not only for disobedience but also for the disobedient: “Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:6).

We love God; He loves us infinitely more. We please the One we love, and we demonstrably do this by being Christ-like. This isn’t a laborious something we force ourselves to. We honestly enjoy living in unquestionable integrity and all-out faithfulness—in willing obedience to the Lord’s instructions. We’ve heard before: “Our lives are God’s gifts to us; what we do with our lives are our gifts to God.” Reality is: there’s nothing we can give God that He didn’t give us. Still, He kindly gives us the uplifting pleasure of choosing to thank Him by the way we live out this precious gift of life—both the physical and the eternal. It’s a deep joy yielding to the precious Holy Spirit—radiating goodness, righteousness, and truth. What an honor and privilege.